More wool walkers in sheep shack

What a week and a half! It's been a little nutty with cows in and out, sheep in and our first snow.

What a week and a half! It's been a little nutty with cows in and out, sheep in and our first snow.

The snow hasn't gone away like our neighbor said it would. I'm holding him personally responsible for ruining outdoor family pictures coming up this Saturday. I kid, but I will give him a good-natured ribbing when I see him at the gas station. Might I suggest a meteorologist career?

Jessica, our 4-year-old daughter, is home because she has a four-day school week. Ron, myself, Jess and Tedd were Clark, S.D.-bound, trailer in tow. For some people, buying a pair of shoes or a new coat is exciting. For me, buying some quality sheep or cows is like a trip to Macy's with a no-limit credit card. A new pair of Ariat boots comes in a close second (especially the Sidekicks in dark brown. I hope my husband actually reads my column like he says he does).

I'm not into raising registered stock anymore. It was a great experience, but as I try to simplify things, I realized the paperwork has to be cut down. My new motto is, "Let's save trees!" I will love selling my sheep at the local sale barn instead of having them shipped across the country.

I was to get 10 of my friend, Jody's, good crossbred ewes. I was going to trade her one of my best registered ewe lambs from this year's crop and pay the rest. My goal now is to raise really good quality sheep. I still will have a registered ram, but I am going to look for good crossbreeds. Because I use wool to felt with and I get some spun, I was excited to see the fleece on these girls. I never thought I'd like a Rambouillet cross, but these are crossed with Southdowns and their fleeces are amazing. I can't wait to shear in December!


The neighbor brought my cow, Sweetie, home from his pasture where she hopefully got bred. Running by her side was the prettiest bull calf I have ever seen. His neck is so thick I thought if he wasn't wild coming off pasture I would love to put my sewing tape measure around it.

I bet he's going to wean at close to 700 pounds. He's a Brutus. I did a happy dance as my neighbor said, "Just by sight, I could pick him out in the pasture. He's way nicer than any of my calves." He's got an amazing black angus bull out of Nebraska.

Then, before it snowed, a gate was broken in the feedlot and two pens of steers and cows got together. On Saturday afternoon, we found ourselves down in the sorting pens. Wouldn't it be amazing if we had the same weather intuitions animals did? I think they know weather is coming, which made the cows hackle up and be in foul moods. The steers were pounding into gates, and the cows were chasing us.

One big old cow had cancer eye on her right side and was blind. Ron sorted her off and she started running down the alleyway -- straight at Kara, who ran up the side of the continuous fence like a squirrel up a tree.

That old nag threw her head to the right to see Kara and thought she wasn't in reach. She heard me a little further down the alley by my swing gate and came running like a thoroughbred, cocking her head so she could see me.

There's something about having a 1,600 pound critter beating down your path. I did the quick squirrel climb and was out of her reach. I slammed the gate behind her and off she went into her correct pen. Later, Ron, Cody and I were watching TV, and I told them we needed a little more love when we sort. He laughed and said, "I think we need a little less fear." So says the man who almost got picked up and thrown by a Charolais steer that still had some horns.

So the moral of this story is there is no moral. Buy good sheep, sell good bull calves and double chain your gates.

Until next week, Fairchild Farmgirl

What To Read Next
Get Local